October 13, 2015

Understanding of the physical demands and dietary requirements of athletes has increased considerably in the last 10-15 years and this has informed the development of evidence-based sports nutrition guidelines from authoritative bodies, including Dietitians of Canada. Emphasis in these guidelines is often placed on ensuring that adequate energy, carbohydrate and protein are consumed to optimize the performance of athletes. Nonetheless, ongoing public health discussions along with new developments in the understanding of exercise adaptation have resulted in a need to clarify the role of carbohydrates and sugars for athletes.

CSI offers a new fact sheet “Role of Carbohydrates and Sugars in Sports Nutrition” authored by Dr. Gareth Wallis of the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.

Key Points:

  • Carbohydrate is the predominant fuel used by most people during intense sporting activities
  • Adequate carbohydrate availability is important for performance optimization in sustained intense sporting activities
  • Daily and within-event carbohydrate goals for athletes will vary as a function of the energetic demands of training or competition
  • Sugars feature in the diets of athletes, most likely as part of the normal pattern of food consumption and can be regarded as one of a variety of options to help athletes achieve their specific carbohydrate-intake goals

This fact sheet and all of our health professional and consumer resources can be ordered or downloaded free of charge on our website